Eric Clapton's 40-plus-year career has spanned the entire history of modern rock, from his early years as a young blues-influenced guitarist with the Bluesbreakers
and the Yardbirds
, his coming-out years as part of the power trio Cream
, then as part of the one-off group Blind Faith
, through his arguable peak with Derek & the Dominos
, and his subsequent solo career, which saw him mellow down and slide to the radio-friendly middle of the road before swinging back to his beloved blues with an older man's regrets and joys. This two-disc set chronicles the middle portion of all this, opening with three classic songs ("Sunshine of Your Love," "Crossroads," and "White Room") from his time with Cream, segueing into "Presence of the Lord" from the one Blind Faith album, then charging through three absolute gems from Derek & the Dominos ("Layla," "Bell Bottom Blues," "Why Does Love Have to Be So Sad") before settling into his solo years with easy, safe covers of "Willie and the Hand Jive," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Cocaine," "After Midnight," and "Tulsa Time," as well as crafted originals like the endearing and romantic "Wonderful Tonight." Clapton was never an adventurous explorer on guitar like Jimi Hendrix
-- he had instead a timeless feel for appropriate tone and phrasing in his guitar playing -- and his long career has been navigated with tremendous grace against all kinds of odds. This collection tells the story.